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Guildford proving doubters wrong

Seamus Boyer

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It was always going to be a tough prospect for Wairarapa-Bush to hold on to Zac Guildford.

He has always been a class player, and while his off-field antics have let him down on occasion over the years, on the field he’s still a great footy player.

This season he’s shone at centre for Wairarapa-Bush in the Heartland championship, although he probably didn’t earn as many man-of-the-match performances as he was capable of.

But he was solid on defence all season, and scored some magnificent tries – a couple that only he could have completed.

When his signing was announced in August it was met with largely positive comments, with the bulk of those happy to give the ex-All Black another chance at rugby redemption.

Many saw the signing as his last real chance at surviving as a rugby player, and to be fair Guildford probably saw it as such himself.

He was honest in his self-assessment, and knew he needed to just put his head down and work his socks off at training and at games, while keeping on track off the paddock.

By all accounts he did just that.

As well as those happy to see Guildford in Wai-Bush’s green and red, there were plenty who just wanted to see him fail.

Almost gleeful were the doubters in the scathing comments they wrote on Facebook, waiting for Guildford to once again come a cropper after too many beers.

Others went further, saying he’d already had too many chances and didn’t deserve another.

Well, it looks like the doubters were wrong.

Guildford not only kept his nose clean throughout the Heartland season, but managed to get picked up by the Waikato rugby union where he will play sevens for the province while hoping to earn higher honours later on next year.

It will not be surprising if Guildford makes the Waikato NPC team, and while it would be a step too far to achieve a Super Rugby contract next year, he could do so in 2018.

Guildford’s story has been a good one this year, about what you can do when you work hard and be humble and honest about your mistakes.

The doubters won’t be happy, but we should wish Guildford all the best in his continued comeback.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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